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LAPD motor officers sue city over illegal ticket quotas

August 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
LAPD motor officers have sued the city, alleging they've been punished for refusing to follow illegal ticket quotas.

It's not the first time officers have sued over the issue; an earlier lawsuit cost the city millions of dollars.

Ten motor officers assigned to the West Traffic Bureau are suing the LAPD. Back in April, two other officers also assigned to the West Traffic Bureau were awarded $2 million by a jury.

All of the officers in the two cases are saying the same thing- that there are traffic ticket quotas, and if they don't do it they are punished.

The lawsuit claims: "They were required to illegally fulfill a traffic citation quota. After complaining to superiors and others in the City of Los Angeles and/or refusing to adhere to orders concerning the illegal quotas, plaintiffs were harassed, retaliated against, and discriminated against by the defendants."

They say they were punished by being passed over for assignments they were qualified for, and by being denied overtime.

People we spoke with say they don't like it.

"It does not surprise me that that's the case, at all," said Mid-City Resident Tanika Orange. "The city is in trouble for money, so any way they probably can raise funds, it wouldn't surprise me at all."

"I don't think it is fair, but a lot of things in life aren't fair," said another resident.

"Your assignment dictates what you should be doing," said L.A. City Councilmember Dennis Zine. "And if you are on a motorcycle, and you're on patrol, and you're enforcing the traffic laws, you would assume that citations would be issued and drunk drivers would be arrested."

Zine, who at one time was an LAPD motor officer, says supervisors have to tread a fine line. And that by keeping on top of officers and pushing them to do their jobs is not necessarily setting a quota.

"There is a requirement," said Zine. "You do your job. You are not given a quota of write so many tickets, arrest so many drivers. But go out there and do your job."

Ticket quotas are illegal under state law and people we spoke with say even if their superiors told the officers to do it, those officers should not have broken the law.

"How are you forced to break the law if you are a peace officer?" said Mid-City resident Brent Baisley. "Isn't there a whole job to uphold the law? The tickets should not only have not been written, they should be invalid."

All 10 officers are still on duty. The LAPD has not commented on the lawsuit, and the attorney for the officers could not be reached.

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